When Senate Republicans went to bat over a slew of energy amendments last week, they also offered up a preview of what 2015 will look like if the GOP takes the Senate.
Monday marked the long-awaited death of a bipartisan energy bill, when an efficiency measure from Ohio Republican Rob Portman and New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen garnered only 55 of the 60 votes it needed to advance (three Republicans, including Portman, voted for the bill). The bill's bipartisan sponsorship wasn't enough to overcome a procedural squabble over amendments and a political chess match over a vote on the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline.
Within that squabble, however, was a window into top Republican priorities, as their proposed amendments read like a laundry list of the party's energy goals: approval of the pipeline, legislation checking the Environmental Protection Agency's air-quality rules, and a full stop to the Obama administration's climate-change efforts for power plants.
"Republicans will continue to push for the Senate to address these important matters, whether Democrats want to join us or not," said Don Stewart, spokesman for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Democrats have been quick to blame the Right for the death of the Shaheen-Portman efficiency bill, saying that they moved the goalposts by asking for five amendments. Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that the Right was holding the bill "hostage" rather than taking a deal for a clean vote on the bill with a separate vote on Keystone.